Sewing Basics

I’ve been sewing a lot this year. This is in large part because I now have a sewing machine, which allows me to complete projects more quickly. As I looked at my wardrobe recently I realized I was missing some basics, and was quite unhappy with my t-shirt collection. I’ve found myself avoiding wearing the t-shirts I have because I just don’t like them. So I pulled out my trusty Alabama Chanin t-shirt pattern, bought some printed cotton knit from Hobby Lobby, and got to work.

I’ve used this pattern before, but last time I used a rib knit, which is much more stretchy than the Stockinette fabric I was using this time. I did not realize this until I had already cut out the whole shirt. It turned out to be too small and too short. I was lucky that I had just enough fabric to cut out another shirt in a larger size. I made sure I was using a Jersey needle in my sewing machine, but it started making a funny noise, so I sewed almost the whole shirt by hand with a running backstitch. I figured out later it was not a problem with the machine. The needle was slightly bowed, which caused it to rub up against part of the machine.

The last piece of the puzzle was hems and the neckband. I chose a Herringbone stitch that I worked around the shirt hem, the sleeve hems, and the neckband. I debated doing a second round of herringbone in either white or a soft green, but ended up liking the single Herringbone better. The shirt was now finished.

One of these days I’d love to add more details, like additional embroidery, appliqué or reverse appliqué, or even beading! These are the techniques Alabama Chanin is best known for, and I’ve never given it a proper try.

**You’ll notice I’m wearing my new shirt with my me-made shorts, making this an entirely me-made outfit! I love wearing clothes I’ve made for myself, and these shorts are super comfortable!

My Lazy Day Tunic

A while ago I wrote about how I like to dress down at home, but somewhat nice at work. However, I find it easiest to make clothes that fall in between – too nice to wear at home, but not nice enough for a professional setting. Several months ago I bought some cotton jersey, intending to make ALL THE THINGS, but the colours were not what I expected, so the fabric got set aside. A few days ago I decided that sometimes good enough now is better than perfect someday, and that I should use what I already have rather than buy more stuff.

So I pulled out my Alabama Chanin patterns, and set to work making a tunic to wear at home. I used the basic T-shirt pattern, but lengthened the hem to end mid-thigh and shortened the sleeves to end just above my elbow. I also added a pocket, because POCKETS!

I turned the neckline under to stabilize it. I may turn the other hems under, but then again, I may not. I have also thought about felling the seams, but that just seems like a lot of work for an already functional garment. In my imaginary world I will applique leaf shapes all over the tunic and it will become a work of art that I wear with leggings and a hat as I walk through piles of autumn leaves. But sometimes good enough now is better than perfect someday. And I can always add to my finished tunic.

gnomepocket

Sewing

If you follow me on Instagram (@dramaticlyric) you will have seen that I’ve been doing some sewing recently. It all started a few weeks ago when I was wandering the aisles of Barnes and Noble and a sewing book caught my eye. Now this was not just any sewing book, this was Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin. Most sewing books are about sewing woven fabrics with a machine. This book is about handsewing knitted jersey. My sewing machine is on the blink, and I actually prefer handsewing anyway, so the book caught my interest (also, I had read about Alabama Chanin on Mason Dixon Knitting). I read through it a few times, then pulled out some fabric and thread. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

A very basic but fitted dress out of grey…stuff (the fabric was given to me, so I’ve no idea what the fiber content is). I had just enough to make the dress – I even had to piece it in a few places. This dress is great on its own or as a layering piece, meaning I can wear it year-round. Perfect!

stitch

This next project is something I started in high school, but had not yet finished. A sleeveless vest with tatted lace in the back. All I needed to do was finish the arm holes.

vest

My friend has a horse, so here are some gratuitous horse pictures (also showing my recently finished Perry cardigan).